I sat down to varnish today finally. I've had several paintings that need it, but its been so cold I couldn't do it outside. The house stinks now and I felt lightheaded all afternoon - jk! - but the work is ready to go to galleries now.
As I was varnishing this restaurant scene, I was struck by the difference it made in the colors. So I thought I'd share. The left side is varnished, the right is not. Its quite dull in comparison. When you thin your paint with OMS or some other solvent, you break down the oil - so the paint will dry duller. Since I paint a lot of fat over lean, my paintings can really vary from gloss to flat, so I like to varnish everything to bring the colors to life, create an even surface, and of course, protect the painting from dirt, dust, oils, smoke and other environmental hazards.